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Taksim Square Guide

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My Destination
My Destination

Though still part of European Istanbul, Istanbul’s large Beyoglu district lies across the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn from the old city on the Eminönü Peninsula. This large district has been a place of settlement for over 2,000 years. Previously known as ‘Pera’, the area was once home to a large Jewish merchant population and later, during the 13th century, Genoese migrants moved in. Following the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul, many European countries set up embassies and began trading here.

These days Beyoglu and, in particular, the Taksim area, is home to some of the city’s most popular attractions including the Galata Tower, Istanbul Modern art Museum and Taksim Square. There are also a scattering of churches, mosques and embassies as well as hotels, apartments and hostels to accommodate the large number of visitors staying here.

Beyoglu's alternative music and arts scene make it a popular choice for Istanbul’s young, hip and culturally aware. During the daytime, the area is a popular shopping destination, especially along Istiklal Street in Taksim. Istiklal Street is one of the longest and most populated pedestrianised streets in Istanbul and is a great place to enjoy a coffee while people watching. Brave the crowds or take the historic tram from Tunel along its length.

At night the area really comes alive, with an impressive array of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Every evening hundreds of thousands of patrons cram the narrow cobbled streets in and around Istiklal Street, around Tunel and Asmalimescit and Nevizade to feast and drink the night away.

Descending towards the water, a series of nargile cafés line the shores of the Bosphorus in Tophane near to the Kabatas ferry terminal, from where ferries depart to destinations around the city including the Princes’ Islands.

1st photo: Istiklal Street © John Walker

2nd photo: Taksim Square © Yildirim Incealemdaroglu

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